11th Other Minds Music Festival: Centenary Celebration of Marc Blitzstein, Saturday, February 26, 2005, at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Piano Percussion Music
Sarah Cahill, piano solo
Piano Percussion Music is a grandly scaled work that is a neglected and unpublished masterpiece of the late '20s. Written for a League of Composers concert in New York, it is in three movements: Toccata, Air, and Rondino. The first movement, a Presto marked martellato (hammered) includes a subito pianissimo ending that Eric Gordon remarks is suggestive of "the sound of a marimba. The air differs greatly, a noble, Purcellian confection with trills and sixteenth-note ornamentation, its meter switching between 4/4 and 5/4." In the final movement the pianist is called on to slam the keyboard cover four times. The idea was sugggested by a work of Stefan Wolpe's that Blitzstein heard in Berlin with, as he wrote, the "very last note being the closing of the piano, as though putting the final stamp on all piano music to come."